Lumbar Spine Overload

The how & why

  • The highest risk category is fast bowlers under the age of 24. Their skeleton is not yet matured and muscles often lack the required strength
  • The key factors increasing the susceptibility to Lumbar stress injuries are age, technique and workload (number of balls bowled)
  • Playing a high number of consecutive games or training with high bowling workloads can increase risk of injury.
  • Junior cricket does include bowling restrictions with respect to amount of rest time between bowling spells withthe specific aim of not overloading young bodies!

What to look out for

  • Low back pain on both sides or one side during bowling, after games or the following day
  • Low back spasms with activity
  • Lack of power in running or in bowling delivery
  • Referred pain into glutes/legs or up back that doesn’t settle within an hour after playing (may or may not bepresent)

What to do

  • Consult a sports physiotherapist or sports doctor for correct assessment
  • Stress fractures require a significant amount of rest from the aggravating activity in addition to rehabilitation forprogressively strengthening the body to cope with the demands of the sport.


  • Whilst age is not changeable, technique & workload are. The best time to work on building a good bowling technique is whilst the player is still developing
  • Bowling workload ;

– should be built gradually over a number of weeks in the lead up to games starting

– maintained at a level equivalent to the amount required in a game.

  • Sudden increases in bowling load should be avoided, a steady progression should be undertaken.
  • Monitor the total number of balls bowled at trainings and games to avoid overload
  • Replicate game type load at cricket training
  • Cricket screening can be used to identify risk factors and set up an injury prevention strengthening program

Leisa Stringer, WSC Sports Physio